December 6th marked the start of an exciting new chapter in Thailand’s culinary story thanks to the launch of the first Michelin Guide Bangkok, highlighting the diverse array of gastronomic offerings that has long attracted overseas visitors to the Kingdom.
With the launch of the new guide, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) hopes to promote culinary tourism even more over the coming 12 months as visitors flock to try out the country’s culinary delights.
The guide includes a total of 98 Thai, Asian and international eateries. For the first time, 28 street food stalls have been mentioned within the famous red guide. The selection of eateries includes three two-star restaurants, 14 one-star restaurants and 35 Bib Gourmand restaurants.
The new Bangkok guide is the first stage of the wider Michelin Guide Thailand, which will cover the period from 2017 to 2021. The Michelin Guide Bangkok 2018 will also include food and restaurants in other popular destinations.
“The inaugural Michelin guidebook will elevate Thailand’s food scene to a new level of excellence and significantly enhance the country’s reputation as a world-class dining destination,” said Yuthasak Supasorn at the launch of the guide.
“The Michelin Guide is a measure of gastronomic quality for many people around the world. It sets a high benchmark, and we are confident that the launch of the Michelin Guide Bangkok will attract more food connoisseurs to Thailand, which will in turn increase revenue for restaurants and substantially contribute to Thailand’s overall tourism and leisure market.”
The TAT aims to increase income from Thailand’s restaurant business from 20 percent of total tourism revenue for 2017 to 25 percent in 2018, according to a report in the Bangkok Post. This year, the TAT aims to generate THB2.77 trillion (US$84.6 billion) in tourism revenue, 20 percent of which is predicted to be from food. Next year, this total is expected to rise to THB3 trillion (US$91 billion), with food sector comprising THB750 billion (US$22.9 billion).
According to Yuthasak, the new Michelin Guide will fortify Thailand’s reputation as a sought-after culinary destination.
“TAT has made gastronomy tourism an important part of its marketing strategy,” he said. “Thai cuisine is famous all over the world. It is rare a major city in the world does not boast a Thai restaurant, be it in the form of fine dining or takeaway. All our culinary delights have their roots in Thai agriculture, which was our bedrock source of economic livelihood well before tourism. Now, the Royal Thai Government is more firmly linking both.”
Thailand is ranked in 29th globally in terms of certified food vendors. It is second in Southeast Asia, after Singapore.